Friday, April 11, 2014

How This National Geographic Cover Came to Be (A Work of Fiction)

First, the cover in question:

And now the scene: an editorial meeting in the main office of National Geographic’s headquarters in Washington D.C. All relevant departments direct their attention to the editor in chief, who asks what species could most deserve the cover of the long-awaited exotic pets issue. The room immediately erupts into frenzied suggestions. “Lions!” “Antelopes!” “Perhaps a lemur wearing a dog collar?” “I like ibexes!” But eventually, the rumble dies down, as each attendee realizes that his or her idea doesn’t perfect capture the spirit of the issue. A timid voice from emerges from the back of the room.

“What about hedgehogs?”

The rumble returns, but with a different focus. “Oh, there she goes again.” “Sit the fuck down, Nedra.” “She’s always talking about fucking hedgehogs.” “Who hired Nedra, anyway?” The editor-in-chief indulges her: “What is it about hedgehogs that makes you think they deserve the cover, Nedra?”

Right hand tugging nervously at her left elbow, Nedra begins. “Well, I’ve always thought they were neat. They are kind. They are clean. And I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but there’s more National Geographic could be doings for them…”

The editor-in-chief nods cautiously.

“And also my hedgehog’s name is Mrs. Bananas and she eats bananas and I have to keep the lights off in my house so she feels safe and she also likes peas.”

The rumble begins again. “Fuck this idiot.” “She’s insane!” “I think she’s simple.” “I’ll bet she doesn’t even own a fucking hedgehog, this dumb, crazy liar.” Realizing she’s losing her chance, Nedra gives it one last shot, her voice no longer timid.

“And also sometimes Mrs. Bananas rolls into a ball and it makes her sneeze and it’s cute and also I disposed of all the photo files.”

The room quiets. The EIC: “What did you say, Nedra? You got rid of our photos?”

“Umm. Maybe.”

“Young lady, are you saying you got rid of each and every photo that National Geographic has or ever will run of a wild animal?”

“… Yes. I threw them all into the Potomac last night. Mrs. Bananas and I broke in. No one notices us. You have no other options now.”

“But why would you do that?”

“Well… because now you have no choice but to acknowledge Mrs. Bananas. And hedgehogs everywhere.”

The editor-in-chief looks sternly at Nedra for a few moments before once again nodding his head. “Well-played, Nedra. Mrs. Bananas shall have her day.” And then the rest of the National Geographic begins a begrudging slow clap. As the EIC walks over and puts his hand on Nedra’s shoulder, she scoops Mrs. Bananas out from the pocket of her olive-green blazer. She cuddles the little critter next to her face,weeping tears of joy. And in a voice almost too quiet to be heard, she says, “We did, Mrs. Bananas. We did it.”

{ FIN }

And that, my friends, is the only way I can imagine how anyone thought that the wildest, most exotic animal National Geographic could put on the cover of this issue was a fucking hedgehog.

No comments:

Post a Comment